The follow up to chart-topper 'Take A Bow', the edgy 'Disturbia', reached No. 3 in the UK charts in September 2008... The upbeat smash was written by Chris Brown and his songwriting team, The Grafitti Artizts.Yeah, sometimes five years ago can seem quite recent but other times it feels very long ago indeed. In the light of what's happened since 2008, the thought of Chris Brown giving Rihanna a song of this title has certain resonances it didn't at the time. Indeed she even sings "it's too close for comfort" at one point, which is only too true now.
Trying to think back into a 2008 context, though, this was the sixth of eight Top 20 hits associated with her album Good Girl Gone Bad, albeit that the later ones were only on the deluxe version of the album released that year; it's a testament to her work-rate that 2008 is the only year since 2005 when she hasn't released a new album (though she's yet to come out with one in 2013). Though was indeed the official follow-up to 'Take A Bow', she'd managed to squeeze in a minor hit in between with the Maroon 5 collaboration 'If I Never See Your Face Again'. Mind you, she later kept two Maroon 5 tracks off the top of the UK chart so they might have rather liked the prospect of not seeing her again.
Listening to the song again for the first time in probably several years, what struck me was how little edge it had. It's a serviceable enough RnB sort of song, and the "bum-bum-bum" hook is sort of catchy - though as the critic and star of Twitter Fraser McAlpine pointed out, it does sound a bit like 'Blue' by Eiffel 65, which possibly wasn't the effect Brown intended. But considering how out-there some 90s and 2000s urban music could be production-wise, it is rather staid (possibly because Brown originally wrote the song for himself). The scariest thing about it, at least without hindsight, is the typically detached, emotionless way that Rihanna herself sings the song. It's not a voice I've ever been fond of but perhaps it suits this material better than some. But the sheer number of hits she has can mean that even as big a one as this is mostly forgotten even a few years later.
Also appearing on: Now 62, 63, 64, 65, 67, 68, 69, 70, 72 (with T.I.), 74 (with Jay-Z and Kanye West), 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 84,
Available on: R&B Collection Summer 2009 [Explicit] [+digital booklet]